Poor Kwikset is dragged through the mud again

Today Wired ran an article about Kwikset Smartkey locks and how easily they are compromised. They use nearly the same technique that I use when people are locked out of a Smartkey lock, except that I torque an actual key. They hammer a key blank into the lock so they can’t take it back out. My method, I take the key back out after I am done, and the regular key still works half the time.
The main premise of their argument, however, is correct: Smartkey locks are not that smart. They won’t keep criminals out. Their main use is for low security rental units that landlords want to rekey after each change in occupancy. I know my key looked very worn when I got it from my property manager.
So, in an analysis of what these guys did wrong: They should have tried torquing a nickel key so that they could remove it. This would have two beneficial results: they wouldn’t have damaged the lock face with their screwdriver, and there would not be a key still inside the keyway. There would be absolutely no sign of forced entry. The lock would probably still work. I feel like an idiot for not pulling their grant money for this study, because I could have done this a lot better. On the other hand, maybe they purposely obfuscated the methods I describe because they don’t want to give criminals the ability of forced entry with no forensic signs.
At any rate, the old adage remains true: if the criminal wants into your house, they will get in. The trick is making it look harder to get into your house than your neighbor’s (but not so hard as to attract interest). Kwikset advertises this deadbolt as grade 1, meaning that it can be used thousands of times without failure. I have lots of customers whose smartkey locks have failed after a few years. They seem more likely to fail if poorly copied keys are used in them.
Another thing this video points out is the need for a keyway that is less common or restricted entirely. This method wouldn’t work if these men weren’t able to stick a blank that fit the keyway into the lock. I always offer customers the choice of changing the keyway to a less common one or a restricted keyway for a little bit more money. Then you are far safer from bumpkey attacks, not to mention how much harder picking a lock is if it is not kw1 or wr3. There is a lot of room for manoeuvrability in these latter keyways.

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Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.